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The Petoskey Stone's Crib Notes For New Cachers

Accuracy
Finding Caches
Building Caches
Placing Caches
Tips

Accuracy (EPE)

In general I rate accuracy like this:

12 feet or less = Great
13-17 feet = Good
18-20 feet = OK
20-25 feet = not so good
25-30 feet = poor
greater than 30 feet = bad

Lousy accuracy? Go far enough away to get some a better signal. Now note the bearing and distance. Next, go away from the target on a different bearing and find a good signal. You are triangulating! Note the second bearing and distance. Where the two bearings intersect, should be your zero point. Start your search there.

Finding Caches

  1. Sometimes it is just best to put away the GPSr and try to think like a cacher.
  2. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself: "Where would I put it?".
  3. Read the cache description pages. Really read them. Have them with you to refer to.
  4. Familiarity with the person who has hidden the cache can be VERY helpful. Try to think like them.
  5. Know how to reach the search point. It can be frustrating when you can't navigate yourself to the target area. Use maps.
  6. Finding the right "approach" can be the most important aspect of a hunt. Remember that most caches have a very reasonable approach available.
  7. Don't bushwhack, scale or climb, until you have looked for a reasonable approach.
  8. Know Poison Oak (or ivy). And remember to watch out for it.
  9. Don't waste your time looking for a bad cache in a bad location.
  10. Geocaching is supposed to be fun. If you aren't having fun, move along. The next one is bound to be better!
  11. Log your DNF's (Did Not Find). There is nothing humiliating about logging DNF's. The best cachers log them. It helps other seekers and it helps the cache owner.
  12. Be honest in your logs. If you find a cache, and have issue with some aspect of it, put the info in the log. Write the log entry that you wish others had written before you. If it is a bad location and dangerous, say so. If it is a poor location to bring children to, say so. Be honest, be blunt, but don't be mean or egotistical.

Building Caches

  1. Rare-earth magnets are really great!
  2. J-B Weld is a Steel Epoxy that is incredible! Does a great job of bonding magnets to containers.
  3. Cache containers can be made from lots of different materials. I have used: - Surplus ammo cans - PVC pipe - Wood & nails - Electrical boxes - Film canisters - Altoids mint containers - Metal chewing gum containers - Fencepost caps
  4. It is better to build/acquire the right cache container that to put out the wrong one, or one that is has not been completed.
  5. It is easier to fix it in the garage, than in the field.
  6. Geocachers appreciate "attention to detail". A well made cache is admired by those who find it.

Placing Caches

  1. If you have a nice little park, and you put your micro in the middle of the park, you just prevented anybody else from putting a cache in this park. It is better to put your micro at one end and leave the rest of the park available for more caches.
  2. If you have a nice little park and you put your little micro in a hollowed out stump that is in the un-developed, back one-third of the park, you just prevented anybody else from putting a larger cache in this park. It is better to hide you little micro far away from the un-developed section, in any one of the many places that a micro can be hidden, leaving the un-developed section for the placement of larger caches.
  3. It is better to take your time and find "the right spot" than to rush and put a cache in a spot that you later wish that you hadn't.
  4. It is better to rate a cache too high than too low. If too high, nobody complains, they just feel good about themselves. If too low, they feel bad... and complain.
  5. There are guidelines for rating caches. Use them when possible.
  6. Consider the 'muggle factor' when placing a cache. Don't put a difficult cache in a location that has very high muggle traffic. It just frustrates the cache finder because he is unable to conduct a proper search.
  7. Geocacher's appreciate "attention to detail". A well placed cache is admired by those who find it.
  8. Know Poison Oak (or ivy). And remember to watch out for it.

Tips

  1. I have a cache named "Paced Hunter" The name is an anagram that may provide a hint. It is not uncommon for people to employ anagrams in this fashion.
  2. Read the cache description carefully. In some cases, what is not said can be as important as what "is" said.
  3. Read the logs. See when a cache was last found. If the last entry was a DNF (Did Not Find), maybe it has gone missing.
  4. Get to know the names/handles of other geocachers and know who hid the cache you are looking for. For example, when I go looking for a cache that Marky & Joani hid, I try to think like Marky & Joani. (Sometimes successfully... other times less successfully) :^)
  5. Post your DNFs. When I first started geocaching I was reluctant to post DNFs because I thought "Gee, I'm such a newbie. I probably just overlooked it." Don't worry, about it. The readers will recognize that you are a newbie and weight the value of the info on their own. The info is important, though. For example, if an experienced cacher posts a DNF, that is one thing. But if an experienced cacher posts a DNF which is followed by two more DNFs by less experienced cachers that does have more weight.
  6. Don't go after "hard" ones until you've had some experience. Collect 15 or more 1-1.5 caches first to see what kinds of hides there are.
  7. Don't hide a cache until you have collect 15-20 caches.
  8. Don't hide a cache in ivy (unless it is a very small patch) because geocachers hate ivy. And they will whine about it (they will do this even if it is a very small patch).
  9. Choose your hiding spots carefully. For example, a difficult hide in a busy park should be avoided because it frustrates the seeker.
  10. Always try to collect a cache without letting others observe you.
  11. Non-cachers are referred to as "Muggles" (from Harry Potter books).A cache that has been found and removed, vandalized or destroyed by a muggle is said to have been "muggled".
  12. Sometimes you can locate a cache with lots of people around but will need to come back later to actually collect it.
  13. For some reason, carrying a clipboard make one "invisible". In other words, muggles tend to ignore you if you are walking around with a clipboard. This is particularly effective if you spend some time examining plants and taking notes.
  14. Carry a small mirror with you. I use a 2-inch mechanic's inspection mirror with a telescoping handle that I bought at Sears. It can be quite handy!